Yechiam Weitz

A Man in the Footsteps of His Fate

Review of Tuvia Friling’s Who Are You, Léon Berger? The Story of a Kapo in Auschwitz — History, Memory, and Politics (Hebrew)

This review of the historian Prof. Tuvia Friling’s book Who are you, Leon Berger? summarizes the biography of Eliezer Gruenbaum, son of Yitzhak Gruenbaum, the prominent leader of the Zionist movement in Poland between the two World Wars and the first Interior Minister of Israel.  It covers three main topics: his life as a Kapo in concentration camps in Poland and Germany during the Holocaust; his trial in Paris as a collaborator after World War II; and his death as an Israeli army soldier near Jerusalem in May 1948, during the War of Independence. The reviewer concludes with his own question: “Does Tuvia Friling…answer the question… he asks in the title?” and draws his conclusions about the book’s unique place in Israeli biography and historiography.